MORE youth will soon have access to treatment in their communities, thanks to an investment that will more than double the number of treatment beds for youth struggling with addictions in B.C.
“I’m incredibly proud that our government has invested in the single largest increase in youth treatment beds ever made in B.C., so more young people can get the care they need, when they need it, close to home,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, on Thursday. “For too long, young people and their families have faced long waits for treatment and a fragmented mental health and addictions system. Especially in these challenging times, young people shouldn’t have to wait for care. There’s much more to do, and we’re going to keep building a full continuum of mental health and addictions care for everyone in B.C.”
As a result of this investment, young people aged 12 to 24 and their families will benefit from 123 new beds for youth substance-use treatment and withdrawal-management beds, helping fill a long-standing gap in youth treatment services. The $36-million investment through 2022-23 will be focused on areas of greatest need. Locations are being determined in consultation with regional health authorities.
“You can’t take an opportunity that you aren’t given,” said Brody Van Velze. “Since the age of 14, I have struggled with substance abuse. During my addiction my life was filled with broken relationships, no respect for others or myself, and poor decisions. I have been clean for over four years now, and I owe my thanks to the Last Door treatment centre. Because I was given the opportunity to have a placement, I have found a new path in my life that grants me happiness and healthy relationships with others and myself. I am thankful for the programs I was able to experience and learn from during my time there. I am thrilled to hear that there will be more funding going towards beds for our treatment centres, as more youth will now have the opportunity that I was given four years ago.”
The first round of new beds is expected to be in place by the end of the fiscal year, with more to follow as health authorities find locations, plan clinical supports and complete implementation. The Province recently opened Traverse, a new 20-bed youth treatment centre in Chilliwack. There are now 124 withdrawal management and treatment and recovery beds for youth in the province.
These new youth beds are part of the full continuum of care government is building for young people and will be connected to culturally safe, youth-specific services in the community. That includes new services to improve the youth substance-use system, such as the expansion of Foundry youth centres, investments in mental health promotion and prevention in schools, and establishing integrated child and youth teams in school districts.
Dr. Kathleen Ross, President, Doctors of B.C., said: “Today’s announcement impacts a population that has been uniquely affected by both COVID-19 and substance-use issues: our province’s youth. Access to treatment beds is a very important part of a larger system of care for our youth. The near doubling of treatment beds will help youth who have taken many courageous steps to seek help and cannot afford to face long waitlists or closed doors. This is a positive step supporting the recovery of youth with substance-use issues, and it is a part of a larger effort. Doctors of BC continues to work with the B.C. government to inform and implement the Pathway to Hope roadmap for mental health and substance-use care in B.C.”